Well, to state the obvious – bunnies and eggs are symbols of fertility. And while the bunny does not appear at the Passover Seder – both holidays for Jews and Christians involve eggs. As with Spring, these holiday are all about renewal and life on so many levels. One of my fertility coaching clients recently talked to me about being on an Easter Egg Hunt while being on her “donor egg hunt”. The irony was not lost on her. Thankfully, she has a good sense of dark humor.
I think for many people struggling with infertility, Passover and Easter with all of its’ symbolism can be really hard ones to get through. Any family holiday really can be a rough time of the year for folks who were hoping to have a pregnancy bump to show off to their family and friends – or who dreamed of sharing the holidays this year finally with a baby.
Yes…the holidays can be tough stuff when you are trying to conceive. After all, they are about celebration and we may not feel like celebrating. Holiday’s can be about giving thanks and we may not be feeling very thankful at the moment. Holidays are markers of time and remind us that once again we are not sharing these potentially joyous celebrations with a little one or a swelling belly. Holidays are about gatherings and seeing family. Our extended families may be growing around us, and we may feel like the flawed couple in the midst of toddlers and pregnancy announcements. Our families may be looking for “updates” if we have been open about our struggles, or may ask subtle inquiries about our plans for family building. Holidays that have the expectations of being filled with joy, can for those of us experiencing infertility, be a conundrum. One big problem.
How do you cope? Can you reclaim the joy that you used to feel during the holidays before infertility came a calling? There are many theories and suggestions by mental health experts who specialize in caring for the emotional health of the couple experiencing infertility. Everyone acknowledges that this is a toughie.
Suggestions often center around taking yourself into as many “kid free” zones as possible. That could be really hard for Jews who go to family Seders. And if you are a Christian, you might be able to get out of egg rolls – but I know of no child free Church service. Sometimes, we just get to be with our discomfort. And that can be really hard. We really have just a few choices. One is to flee the holidays. And the other is to participate even if you are uncomfortable.
Reproductive difficulties or infertility is a robber. A thief that is trying to steal your dreams of a family. A burglar of joy. If you loved decorating your door with colored eggs and or cooking the brisket for Passover should you allow infertility to take that joy away too?
Perhaps, thought should be given into taking charge of the holidays the way you are encouraged to take charge of your infertility!
Maybe you should be the one to host and coordinate Seder dinner. Being a host and hostess takes effort and planning. If you enjoy cooking, you can experiment with new recipes and really out do yourself! . You are in charge of the guest list. You might want to include some friends that are also experiencing infertility. You and your spouse will be very busy during the festivities making sure the soup is just right and you will be the boss, not the guest which puts you in a different role for the evening. One of my friends who has experienced infertility told me that she always made Mother’s Day! She was able to be in control, a part of a family day, and have an important role that she was able to receive praise and satisfaction for. Infertility is isolating enough, and your family want to see you and include you.
Being the hostess is a good way to be a important part of the celebration and having a focus other than your private pain.
Take charge of the holidays and hopefully next year, someone else will be in charge!